Order! Order! Jordanian MPs fight in parliamentary session live-streamed on TV

Constitutional reforms have sparked controversy with some MPs

Grace Almond
Wednesday 29 December 2021 10:50 GMT
Scuffles erupt in Jordan parliament over draft amendment to constitution

A session of parliament in Jordan descended into a fistfight between MPs, and the altercation was live-streamed on local television.

The brawl broke out during a discussion on constitutional reforms, which saw the chamber debate adding the Arabic female noun for Jordanian citizens into the constitution’s section on equal rights.

The amendment has been referred to by some MPs as “useless”.

The video shows the chamber descend into chaos, as the lawmakers first shout at each other then resort to fighting.

A row between Deputy Suleiman Abu Yahya and parliament House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi erupted, after when Yahya accused Dughmi of being “unable to run the show” and claimed he knew “nothing”. The heated debate was broadcasted live on the television channel Al-Mamlaka.

During the clip, one of the deputies fell to the ground, and the session was halted. It has now been adjourned until Wednesday.

The constitutional reforms have sparked controversy with some lawmakers objecting to what they see as an increase in the monarch’s autocratic powers.

While Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, its hereditary ruler, King Abdullah II, has extensive powers, which has led to some critics arguing that its democratic institutions are not able to provide meaningful checks and balances.

US advocacy group Freedom House downgraded Jordan from “partly free” to “not free” this year.

Earlier this year, there were reports of an attempted coup involving members of the Jordanian royal family.

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